I don’t even remember his name. I hardly remember his face. He was wholly unremarkable, and yet he stands out in my memory as the Date Who Made Me Ditch My Decade-Old Strategy for Meeting Men. There was no ski mask or chainsaw involved — he even had most of his hair.
But he was boring. And I realized that I was on a date and all of the fun, nervous energy has been replaced by wishing you were back home watching episodes of “House.” It then occurred to me that my online dating mojo may be tragically defunct.
Had I been at it too long? I felt like I’d learned everything there was to know — or at least I’d learned a thing or two about looking for love online … and why I won’t be doing it anymore.
You’re a Serial Online Dater? Uh, So is He
Just because things didn’t work out with a guy you met online, THAT DOESN’T MEAN HE DISAPPEARS.
Like you, he’s back online, and probably on exactly the same forum you are. You risk finding his ad or profile each time you return to the scene of the crime. Sooner or later, it’s bound to happen. I suspect this is how multitudes of laptops find their way to the Genius Bar — women check Match.com, jump back in horror, catch an ankle in the power cord, and accidentally yank the computer off the table so it falls to the hardwood floor with a muted metallic clunk. Not that I speak from experience, or anything.
If you know your last lover relied on a site in the past, that particular avenue is now closed — even if you’ve never used it. Date long enough and soon there are no safe portals on the entire Internet. I imagine this is how Frankenstein felt as he was fleeing the angry mob of torch-wielding townspeople.
Don’t Hate the Internet, Hate the Game
After fleeing my intensely awkward date, I went home, took down my profile and vowed to use the Web only to buy wildly impractical shoes and query Dr. Google about my sore throat. (Prognosis: Death.)
The Internet is a tool, not an oracle, and it’s tempting to blame the messenger. At some point you have better things to do than engage in epic email correspondence with strangers. Time that would be better spent composing a book of themed limericks or rearranging bedroom furniture. Leaving only the real world, a world I personally have avoided most assiduously since, well, birth.
Off the Computer and Into the World
Actively participating in life rather than hunching over my computer may just be the change needed to catapult me from the cold comfort of my inbox toward someone I can actually make breakfast for — or, better yet, someone who will get up first and put the bacon on. If I discover three dates in that he can’t spell “governance,” that’s still far better than finding out his emails were copy edited by his mother, who, incidentally, also launders his socks.
All the standard rules still apply — it’s all about timing; it doesn’t matter how or where you meet someone, just that you’re open to it. But it’s time to escape the endless rash of emails and venture into the out-of-doors and alternate activities. Bye, Internet. I care about you as a vast global entity, but we’re just not suited for one another.
Alex Wise writes about dating and love and is a frequent Loveawake contributor.
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